By Ruth Hazard
Photo used courtesy of Creative Commons by Nationaal Archief
Drink drivers can be reported to Police by text message as part of a Christmas road safety campaign that was launched in Sussex last week.
Sussex Police and the Safer Roads Partnership are working together on the initiative to try to prevent driving under the influence of drink and drugs over the Christmas period.
Last Christmas 176 drivers were arrested for being over the limit or for refusing to provide a breath test.
Chief Inspector Di Roskilly of Sussex Police Road Policing Unit said: “It is of real concern that there are such large numbers of drivers who are prepared to put the lives of themselves, their passengers and other road users at such risk.
“We make no apologies for targeting them – our aim is to remove them from the roads before they kill someone.”
This year the launch of the mobile phone service will allow people to report someone of drink or drug driving by sending a text message to 65999.
It is hoped this will encourage more people to contact Police as it can be done discreetly.
Chief Inspector Di Roskilly added: “A conviction for excess alcohol leads to an automatic driving disqualification of at least 12 months and this can often present employment difficulties at a time of economic uncertainty.
“The penalties, however, are more than simply financial or a matter of inconvenience.
“The human cost can often be devastating.”
Sussex Police will also be making applications to the courts for vehicles of persistent drink or drug drivers to be forfeited.
They will also be continuing with their usual covert and overt operations and educational events in the Sussex area.
Phil Henty, Operations Manager for the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, said: “We remind motorists to stop and think before they get into their vehicles the night after a party.”
He warned that there is also a danger for people driving home the morning after they have been drinking or taking drugs.
“Alcohol can take time to get out of a motorist’s system, so if the celebrations lasted into the early hours, drivers should be aware that they can still be over the limit even after a few hours’ sleep.”
Chief Inspector Di Roskilly said: “Our drink-drive message is very simple – don’t!
“At best you will get caught and lose your licence, with a significant fine.
“At worst you may kill or seriously injure yourself or others.”
Sussex Police have asked for reports of people who are drinking or taking drugs and driving, or driving anti-socially, to be made to Operation Crackdown on 01243 642222 as well as to the text messaging service on 65999 or on the website www.operationcrackdown.org.
A spokesman said that if it was happening immediately, members of the public could call 999.